Photocropology sounds like the study of something unmentionable….it isn’t, I just made it up (at least nothing showed up when I Googled it a minute ago…. so, you heard it here first folks). It’s the science of cropping a picture for your scrapbooking project. You keep the photo and get rid of the “crop”….you know, all the distractions, the things in the background that have nothing to do with the vibe you want for your page, or maybe even a blurred or less than flattering image (the person picking their nose in the background for example). Most scrapbookers learn how to crop their photos in the very beginning of their journey. It is usually a painful process for some because they have a deep attachment to the whole photo and cutting out parts of it is just, well, unheard of. Cutting your pictures used to mean that you could fit more photos on a page. Now, how you crop a photo is as much of a design element as any embellishment. How we cut our pictures invites our audience to look closer, focus on a part rather than the whole, and helps us define the story we want to tell in the process. There are many scrapbooking artists that constantly blow me out of the water with their fresh and unique voices. Take a look at this lay-out I snagged from Donna Downey’s Scrapbook album…

I know the picture is little, it’s a thumb nail and it’s on purpose…… I want you to look at her album to get a better look. Donna has an amazing way of highlighting the moment. Every person that looks at this picture sees a pretty little girl and her amazing smile. Sometimes a part of the picture really is greater than the sum of all the little parts. When you are at your own desk, working on your own page, concentrate on the elements. Ask yourself, “what was this moment about?”, “what is it that made me want to take this picture?”, “what is the thought or story I want whomever looks at this years later to get from this?” When you ask yourself these questions, the picture will come into focus a bit clearly, you will think about what you want to stay in the picture and what doesn’t belong there. It is a distilling process that leaves us with the “good stuff”. For those wanting to take their art to the next level, I encourage you to spend some time over at Donna’s site and if you get the chance to take a class with her, give yourself that gift- it’s worth it!


  1. Chrissie says

    I do love how you dared us to take those scissors to our beloved photos and to take scrapbooking to an art form rather than just a way to organize our photos. If one wanted to do that skip the scrapbooking and put the pictures in a photo album 😉 less time and effort that way. Daring is what makes art worth while. It’s the artist that dared that makes their mark. It’s the dare that leaves us breathless and wide eyed with wonder. It’s the dare that sends a tingle down our spines to look at it. It’s that dare that stays with someone following them around for days like a friendly ghost or half remembered dream. That is art.
    Although, if you ever find yourself unable to cut up that picture my advice is to scan it on your comp put it on a USB and take it over to your local photo lab and print out an extra copy for cutting up. Not only does this mean you don’t have to lose the whole picture. You have an extra copy on your computer to share with others, and in case you totally screw up the cropping!

  2. says

    Can I just say, I printed your comment out and put it on my wall of fame in my studio….you have it so right! What an amazing inspiration. So true with the scanning thing too. I try to make sure to remind my students to not only scan their pictures but, their collages and paste papers as well- they make wonderful backgrounds and custom scrapbook paper :) Thank you for making my day with your insightful comment!

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